Outfest's 29th Annual Gay & Lesbian Film Festival kicks off in L.A. on July 7th and runs until the 17th with 163 films (67 features and 96 shorts) from 25 countries, along with over a dozen panels and special events. "This year's line-up is one of the strongest in Outfest history and we're excited to be showcasing work that is both exploring and expanding the possibilities of LGBT themes and challenging our audiences through their storytelling," said Director of Programming Kim Yutani.
Outfest 2011 opens with Rashaad Ernesto Green's first feature film, "Gun Hill Road," and will close with feature film debut, "The Perfect Family," from filmmaker Anne Renton. Other gala screenings include: Maryam Keshavarz's "Circumstance" (U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece), Andrew Haigh's "Weekend" (International Centerpiece), P. David Ebersole's "Hit So Hard" (Documentary Centerpiece), and Tom Tykwer's "3" (Broad Stage Gala). The 2011 selections for the festival's Four in Focus series include: Lisa Aschan's "She Monkeys," Maryam Keshavarz's "Circumstance," Madeleine Olnek's "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same," and Eldar Rapaport's "August."
Full Line-up below: [Synopses courtesy of the festival]
Opening Night Gala – “Gun Hill Road” (July 7 at 8:00pm – Orpheum Theatre)
After three years in prison, macho Enrique (Esai Morales) returns home to the Bronx and finds things changed. His wife, Angela (Judy Reyes), is distant, and his teenage son, Michael, has come out as Vanessa, a transgender woman. Unable to accept his child for who she is now, Enrique clings to his masculine ideals while Angela attempts to hold the family together by fiercely protecting Vanessa. Still under the watchful eye of his parole officer, Enrique must become the father he needs to be or once again risk losing his family and freedom.
The heart of GUN HILL ROAD lies in two places: the richly drawn character of Michael/Vanessa (newcomer Harmony Santana is unforgettable) and a father's inability to escape the vicious cycle of his life. Writer/director Rashaad Ernesto Green's first feature film is told with gentle humor, sensitivity and a deep understanding of the environment that defines its inhabitants.
U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece – “Circumstance” (July 12 at 8:00pm – DGA 1)
In a vibrant contemporary Tehran, two beautiful teenage girls struggle for their personal freedom. Atafeh and her best friend Shireen are full of youthful exuberance and a healthy streak of rebellion as they drink, smoke and go dancing at underground parties. When Atafeh's brother Mehran returns from drug rehab, he embraces a new way of life and joins the Morality Police - much to the surprise of his affluent and liberal parents - and becomes increasingly obsessed with and involved in Atafeh and Shireen's intimate relationship.
Nikohl Boosheri (Atafeh), Sarah Kazemy (Shireen) and Reza Sixo Safai (Mehran) smolder on screen in their fearless and complex performances. A feast for the senses, CIRCUMSTANCE is the original vision of writer/director Maryam Keshavarz, whose first feature effort creates a stylish and sensual coming-of-age film, presenting a timely and important story of a new generation of women in Iran who dream of a place where they can be free.
Winner of the Audience Award: Dramatic at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
International Dramatic Centerpiece – “Weekend” (July 13 at 8:00pm – DGA 1)
British filmmaker Andrew Haigh, winner of Outfest 2009's Artistic Achievement Award for his first feature, GREEK PETE, returns to the festival with his second feature - already an acclaimed award-winner itself. With the same intimacy and rare authenticity of his impressive debut, WEEKEND explores the relationship between two young gay men that evolves from a drunken one-night stand into a dynamic and complex portrait of modern gay romance over the course of a booze, drug and sex fueled weekend, building to a delicate emotional climax.
The chemistry between coleads Tom Cullen and Chris New lights fire to a precise yet free-flowing script that allows them to playfully explore the dimensions and shifting moods of their characters. The film's natural rhythm utilizes the confines of its construct to explicitly and unapologetically express themes that transcend sexuality without ever denying it. WEEKEND advances the gay narrative - both filmic and socially - in ways that few films have.
Winner of the 2011 SXSW Emerging Visions Audience Award.
Documentary Centerpiece – “Hit So Hard” (July 14 at 8:00pm – Ford Theatre)
Patty Schemel, the hard hitting drummer of Courtney Love's seminal rock band Hole, is not only a master of the sticks, but a true survivor. After growing up as an outsider near Seattle she shot to stardom in the early 90’s, engulfed by the music scene and ensuing popularity. She documented her life as a rock star – at band practice, on the road, backstage and in front of millions of people. She captured rare, precious moments behind the scenes with Hole and Kurt Cobain and the intense highs and lows of these dynamic relationships often shaped by drug abuse and an addiction that consumed her and almost killed her.
Director P. David Ebersole has masterfully woven Patty’s Hi8 videos with contemporary interviews of Patty, her band mates (including Love, Melissa Auf der Maur and Eric Erlandson), other musicians, and important figures in Patty’s life to craft a story that is as beautiful and inspirational as it is a significant cultural record.
Broad Stage Gala – “3” (July 11 at 8:00pm – Broad Stage)
In one of his most singular and stylish films, German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (RUN LOLA RUN) returns to Berlin for the setting of this seductive drama centered on an upscale middle-aged couple whose routine coexistence is upset when they separately encounter the same man and explore their sexual fluidity. Complementing an inventive narrative with a slick visual polish and dynamic soundtrack, Tykwer crafts a sophisticated film full of ideas and themes that range from erotic to darkly comic to cruel and fatalistic. Sophie Rois (Hanna) and Sebastian Schipper (Simon) deliver pitch-perfect performances as the married couple, and Devid Striesow brings a unique dimension to his role as their unwitting lover, Adam. When a complication threatens to expose their carefully guarded secrets, the resolution is both surprising and inevitable.
3 premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and earlier this year at the 2011 Berlinale.
Closing Night Gala – “The Perfect Family” (July 17 at 8:00pm – Ford Theatre)
How far will one suburban housewife go to win the Outstanding Catholic of the Year Award? Dedicated churchgoer Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner, in a heartbreaking performance) will bend over backwards to portray her dysfunctional brood as the Catholic ideal, even though her son (Jason Ritter) has just left his wife for the woman he really loves, and Eileen's daughter Shannon (Emily Deschanel) is about to marry her lesbian lover.
In her feature film debut, filmmaker Anne Renton skillfully balances the dramatic tension with a humorous undertone centered on Eileen's struggle to reconcile her faith and her goal of perfection with the reality of her life. A talented cast that also includes Angelique Cabral and Richard Chamberlain bolsters this unforgettable comedy-drama.
U.S. Dramatic Features:
Dir/Scr: Eldar Rapaport, 2010, USA, 100 min.
What if the ex-boyfriend you never quite got out of your system moved back to town in the middle of a heat wave? That’s what happens to Jonathan, when his sexy ex Troy returns to L.A. during a particularly sweaty summer. Jonathan falls quickly back into bed with Troy, but will this steamy summer fling pull Jonathan away from his smoldering Spanish lover Raul? Find out in this sensual melodrama that will have you sweating along with its stunning protagonists.
Dir: Aaron Douglas Johnston, Scr: Aaron Douglas Johnston & Cat Smits, 2011, USA, 91 min.
Distraught by the recent death of a close gay friend, Alexa travels from Amsterdam to her friend’s hometown in Iowa to make a documentary about homosexuality in small-town America. Once there, she meets local artist Jennifer, for whom she develops unprecedented romantic feelings. Bolstered by beautiful cinematography illustrative of the American experience, BUMBLEFUCK, USA is an evocative chronicle of Alexa’s journey to understand both her grief and her sexuality.
CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME
Dir/Scr: Madeleine Olnek, 2011, USA, 75 min.
Serving on a special mission, three lesbian aliens are sent to Earth. As the fetching extraterrestrials search for romance on the New York dating scene, one finds love with Jane, an eager stationery store clerk who is oblivious to the fact that she’s dating an alien. Tightly scripted with lo-fi styling and campy B-movie effects, this wholly original comedy embraces the intrinsic hilarity of lesbian life to tell a story about love that transcends galaxies.
Dir/Scr: JC Calciano, 2011, USA, 95 min.
Nowadays it’s not uncommon to be on an online dating site: Match.com, OkCupid, and Grindr. But what if your dating site began to manipulate your every move and spin you into a frenzy? And what if that app was voiced by Morgan Fairchild?! Marshall is feeling stuck in his 7-year relationship with Gabe and turns to an online site for help. Little does he know that the site will take control of his life - all in the name of finding true love, of course.
GOING DOWN IN LA-LA LAND
Dir/Scr: Casper Andreas, 2010, USA, 104 min.
Trying to make it as an actor in L.A.? Trying to keep your integrity while doing it? This is the story of Adam - a fresh, young, gay transplant from New York - and his trials as a struggling actor. After a few months of working a spirit-crushing job, Adam finds himself tempted by less glamorous opportunities that may not be beneficial to his resume. This slice of Hollywood life, written and directed by co-star Casper Andreas, will have you laughing, crying and maybe even reconsidering your own aspirations for stardom.
Dir: Steven Williford, Scr: Paul Marcarelli, 2010, USA, 90 min.
Michael Gavin and his partner Daniel trade the rat race of New York City for the idyllic charm of the Connecticut shoreline, with hopes of a simpler life and time for Michael to finish his first novel. All that changes when one of Michael’s high school students accuses him of “inappropriate conduct,” and the town rushes to judgment. Featuring stand-out performances by Cheyenne Jackson, Julia Ormond and Illeana Douglas, THE GREEN is a gripping emotional journey that will keep you guessing until the very end.
JAMIE AND JESSE ARE NOT TOGETHER
Dir/Scr: Wendy Jo Carlton, 2011, USA, 95 min.
From writer/director Wendy Jo Carlton (HANNAH FREE) comes a lesbian romantic comedy-with musical numbers! For anyone who has ever fallen for a friend. Jamie is moving from Chicago to New York with the hope of becoming a Broadway actress. Her best friend Jessie is bummed because she is not-so-secretly in love with Jamie. As moving day approaches, Jessie tries to make Jamie jealous by dating other women... but the plan backfires in a way Jessie never could have imagined.
LEAVE IT ON THE FLOOR
Dir: Sheldon Larry, Scr: Glenn Gaylord, 2011, USA, 105 min.
Twenty years after PARIS IS BURNING brought Harlem’s drag balls to the world’s attention comes this energetic, dance-filled musical set in L.A.’s ball scene. Kicked out of his house for being gay, Darnell falls in with the city’s most trophy-challenged house, but these runway walkers will overcome tragedy and heartbreak to become the fiercest crew of all. And child, you know they’re gonna leave it all on the floor.
Dir/Scr: David Lewis, 2011, USA, 75 min.
Beers and queers run rampant in this scandalous comedy from the makers of BEARCITY and FRUIT FLY. It’s the ‘80s and “straight” Texas frat boy Kevin has a habit of lending his buddies a helping hand during male bonding sessions, but he really gets his lasso in a twist upon meeting his dorm’s new guy, the openly gay Cesar Kevin attempts to forget his attraction by escaping to a cabin in the Hill Country, but LONGHORNS still manages to give “ride ‘em cowboy” a whole new meaning.
Dir/Scr: Ash Christian , 2011, USA, 88 min.
Mangus Spedgwick was destined to be Jesus - just like his daddy, and his daddy before him - in River City, Texas’ production of Jesus Christ Spectacular! When a freak accident leaves him paralyzed, Mangus wanders through the desert of small-town life, until he is shown the way by a vision of Jesus in a titty bar. Ash Christian (FAT GIRLS) directs an epic cast, including Leslie Jordan, John Waters, Jennifer Coolidge and Heather Matarazzo.
Dir/Scr: Alan Brown, 2011, USA, 98 min.
Romeo and Juliet has never been more provocative than in this contemporary all-boy staging. Writer/director Alan Brown transfers the setting from fair Verona to a high school military campus where a small group of boys from rival schools act out the tragedy in real life. This bold adaptation eschews convention and challenges common perceptions of masculinity, gay youth and the military. Anchored by solid performances, the film balances the tough dialogue, tender romance and unique setting with an erotic rhythm and a few surprising twists.
Dir/Scr: Zach Clark, 2010, USA, 90 min.
Four girlfriends reunite for a week of partying on the beach, and it’s all sand, sun and margaritas until one of them turns up dead. Glass Candy’s electropop soundtrack and a deliciously colored backdrop set the tone for a film in which a dead body may be the least surprising twist. VACATION! is a dazzling guessing game that includes a mysterious surfer dude, a UFO and an acid trip featuring blonde wigs and Miracle Bowel Cleanser.
THE WISE KIDS
Dir/Scr: Stephen Cone, 2011, USA, 91 min.
In a Baptist church community in Charleston, South Carolina, three teenage friends contemplate the next stage of life. There’s the devout Laura; openly gay Tim, who is anxious to start film school in New York; and gorgeous Brea, who is undergoing a deep crisis of faith. Writer/director Stephen Cone infuses comedy into a dramatic narrative. A character-driven film with an extraordinarily talented young cast, THE WISE KIDS is respectful and earnest, and never claims to have all the answers.
Dir/Scr: Mark Jackson, 2010, USA, 87 min.
On a remote wooded island, nineteen-year old Joslyn (Joslyn Jensen, in a finely tuned and unshakable performance) arrives to take care of an elderly man left alone by his vacationing family. In this isolated setting, the memories of her girlfriend and circumstance of her death consume Josyln’s fragile emotions. Writer/director Mark Jackson carefully balances the film’s simple dramatic narrative with undertones of a psychological thriller that slowly reveal Josyln’s internalized grief and sense of loss in subtle and sometimes bizarre ways.
Dir/Scr: Brian Pera, 2010, USA, 105 min.
Powerful women take the lead in this homage to the female protagonist-driven films of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Writer/director Brian Pera (THE WAY I SEE THINGS) has drawn fascinating and complex characters in a series of vignettes, featuring Calpernia Addams as a transwoman returning to her family and childhood home; and the enchanting Ann Magnuson as a popular home shopping hostess with a complicated home life.
International Dramatic Features:
Dir/Scr: Marco Berger, 2011, Argentina, subtitled, 87 min.
Argentinean writer/director Marco Berger (PLAN B) returns to Outfest with a dramatic film about obsession and repression. Adorable 16-year-old Martin not so subtly pursues his ostensibly straight swim coach/gym teacher, Sebastian, who in turn harbors complicated feelings toward Martin. A beautifully shot and unusually moody thriller about forbidden desire, ABSENT is driven by a palpable sexual tension and the interplay of fantasy and reality. Winner of the 2011 Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival for Best Feature Film.
Dir/Scr: Rikki Beadle-Blair, 2010, UK, 110 min.
Riki Beadle Blair (FIT) returns to Outfest with this hard-hitting urban drama adapted from his 2005 stage play exploring the intersection of race, sexuality and music. After a brutal gay bash attack at a reggae dancehall competition, a group of thuggish performers defend their actions as being provoked by the victim. They serve a shockingly light sentence, and as their release date nears, their original public defender rallies with the victims to examine the homophobic song lyrics and ask the question “Did the music make you do it?” Featuring finely tuned performances by a multiracial cast.
BREAK MY FALL
Dir/Scr: Kanchi Wichmann, 2010, UK, 105 min.
In this gritty and realistic drama, four queer hipster friends in East London find their lives changed one fateful drug and alcohol-fueled night. Liza and girlfriend Sally play in an indie rock band and have an intense and dysfunctional relationship. Their guy pals are also floundering: Vin works as a hustler, while Jamie looks to find stability in a boyfriend. Writer/director Kanchi Wichmann takes an unflinching and artistic look at the complex and often not so pretty terrain of human relationships.
THE FAMILY COMPLETE
Dir/Scr: Imaizumi Koichi, 2010, Japan, subtitled, 106 min.
Imaizumi Koichi’s twisted look at family dynamics and sexual obsession ranks among the most wonderfully weird films we’re screening this year. A grandfather carries a mysterious disease that makes other people want to have sex with no one but him - and soon everyone in the household is afflicted! (And then there’s the guy in the bear costume who meows like a kitten, but we’ll leave that for you to figure out.)
A FEW DAYS OF RESPITE (QUELQUES JOURS DE RÉPIT)
Dir/Scr: Amor Hakkar, 2010, Algeria/France, subtitled, 80 min.
Having escaped Iran, where their relationship means a death sentence, Hassan and Mohsen manage to make it to France. In a small town awaiting their train to Paris, Mohsen befriends lonely Yolande, and finds himself torn between a security he has never known before and his passionate connection to his younger lover. Without forced sentimentality or manufactured drama, A FEW DAYS OF RESPITE questions the nature of love and happiness, and the sacrifices we might make to achieve either.
HAPPY, HAPPY (SYKT LYKKELIG)
Dir: Anne Sewitsky, Scr: Ragnhild Tronvoll, 2011, Norway, subtitled, 85 min.
Housewife Kaja manages to stay cheerful, despite the fact that her husband would prefer to watch wrestling on TV than have sex with her. When a seemingly perfect couple moves in next door, both Kaja and her husband’s sexual liberation comes within reach, forcing the inevitable truths and secrets out. Dark humor, flat-out hilarity and tight storytelling make HAPPY, HAPPY a delightful look at the folly and resilience of adult relationships. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
HARVEST (STADT LAND FLUSS)
Dir/Scr: Benjamin Cantu, 2011, Germany, subtitled, 85 min.
Marko, a brooding young man, is a student in an agricultural school on a farm 40 miles outside of Berlin. Driving tractors, cleaning stables and herding cows is livened up with the arrival of Jacob, an affable pretty boy, with whom Marko begins a friendship. HARVEST reveals itself with subtle storytelling and a quiet tension, while the inner workings of the farm and the natural beauty of its surroundings create an intimacy of two young men finding their way in life.
JOE + BELLE
Dir/Scr: Veronica Kedar, 2010, Israel, subtitled, 80 min.
Things get very complicated very quickly when Joe, an angsty drug dealer, meets Belle, a buoyant suicidal psychopath, in this dark comedy. After an outlandish accident in Tel Aviv leaves the pair with a body to dispose of, they embark on a madcap journey to lose the cops - and end up finding love in Sderot (the target of ongoing rocket attacks). Gritty but tender, JOE + BELLE offers an absurd portrait of life in contemporary Israel.
Dir: Katie Wolfe, Scr: Kate McDermott & Witi Ihimaera, 2010, New Zealand, 76 min.
Kawariki must become the leader of the family after his father retires in this intimate drama. A husband and father, he realizes that in order to lead with integrity, he must come out and be honest about his own life, even though it will test the boundaries of acceptance and unconditional love. Offering valuable insights into Maori traditions, family ideals and cultural values, this feature debut is rich and textured with emotional layers and stunning New Zealand landscapes.
Dir: Eytan Fox, Scr: Shiri Artzi, 2010, Israel, subti tled, 150 min.
What MAMMA MIA! did for ABBA, MARY LOU does for Israeli pop sensation Svika Pick. Meir grows up obsessed with his mother, who left them on his tenth birthday. As a teen, he and his best female friend fall for the hot new boy in school, and as the three friends reach adulthood, Meir’s yearning for his mother - and his elaborate drag performances - both bring the trio together and tear them apart. This latest film from Eytan Fox (THE BUBBLE, YOSSI & JAGGER) is funny, moving and packed with catchy tunes.
THE NIGHT WATCH
Dir: Richard Laxton, Scr: Paula Milne & Sarah Waters, 2011, UK, 90 min.
The highly anticipated BBC film adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel, THE NIGHT WATCH doesn’t disappoint, with all the mystery, betrayal and hunger you would expect from the author of Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet. It’s an intimate character study of five Londoners in the 1940s, as their intertwining secrets and desires reflect the precious humanity and havoc of the war that serves as their backdrop. A hauntingly beautiful story, this poignant film burns with a sensual flame.
OLD CATS (GATOS VIEJOS)
Dir/Scr: Sebastián Silva & Pedro Peirano, 2010, Chile, subtitled, 89 min.
Isadora’s septuagenarian mind is fast deteriorating, which is surprisingly good news for her daughter and her daughter’s butch girlfriend, who want to take control of Isadora’s gorgeous apartment. The relatives-meets-reality drama comes to a head over a fateful family dinner in this hilarious and oddly moving dark comedy featuring perfectly tuned performances from an ensemble cast. This is the most recent collaboration from acclaimed co-directors Sebastián Silva and Pedro Peirano, whose previous film THE MAID wowed audiences worldwide and won numerous awards, including the 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize.
Dir/Scr: Sabine Bernardi, 2011, Germany, subtitled, 94 min.
When Lukas is assigned to the women’s dormitory for his compulsory civil service in Germany, this transman learns that there’s much more to transition than physical changes. His femme best friend Ine is assigned to the same dorm, and they dive right into the anything-goes world of queer Cologne. Lukas is instantly popular, and when he meets the darkly attractive Fabio on the dance floor, his carefully controlled life changes forever, and he finds himself wanting more.
SHE MONKEYS (APFLICKORNA)
Dir: Lisa Aschan, Scr: Lisa Aschan & Josefine Adolfsson, 2011, Sweden, subtitled, 84 min.
Winner of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Grand Jury prize, SHE MONKEYS takes the cliché mean girl movie and deepens the exploration of girlhood desire. Set in the world of female equestrian acrobatics, the competition gets hot when 15-year-old Emma is assigned to train with the older, self-confident Cassandra. The frienemies immediately ignite a psychological battle, cruelly pushing each other's boundaries of strength, sexuality, and overall control in this coming of age story that's both innovative and provocative.
THE ADVOCATE FOR FAGDOM
Dir: Angélique Bosio, 2011, France, 91 min.
Bruce La Bruce has been called bold, revolutionary, controversial, irritating, and pornographic. Whatever your take on his films, no one can deny that he’s one of the only filmmakers consistently bucking the system and pushing boundaries. In this intimate and revealing documentary, rare interviews - including candid insight from John Waters, Gus Van Sant, other contemporaries and La Bruce himself describing his artistic process - combine with archival footage to piece together an authentic portrait of this elusive artist.
Dir: Sebastiano d’Ayala Valva, 2010, France, subtitled, 62 min.
Angel, a former boxer from Ecuador, now works as a prostitute in Paris to support himself and his extended family. After five years away, Angel returns home, only to find ambiguous relationships and the same grinding poverty he left behind. Openly queer and living between genders, Angel faces frequent harassment, which he gracefully defuses and transforms into acceptance. Angel’s riveting story explores the intersections between migration, poverty, perseverance, sexuality and gender.
Dir: James Newton, 2010, UK, 60 min.
Armed with pink pompoms and pursed lips, the South Leeds DAZL Diamonds are determined to become the first all-boy cheerleading squad to win the national championship in London. Under the fierce guidance of their flamboyant coach Ian Rodley, these rough and tumble boys find a drive and purpose they’ve never known before. With a flare for the dramatic, Ian inspires fearless creativity in the youngsters, whose fervent spirit and infectious charm is unforgettably life affirming.
CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE
Dir: Dori Berinstein, 2011, USA, 83 min.
There are very few legends left in show business, but there’s no denying that the inexhaustible star of Broadway’s Hello, Dolly! deserves that title. This delightful and delicious documentary traces Channing’s extraordinary history, from her early success as a classroom mimic to her late-in-life reunion with her childhood love. Everyone from Debbie Reynolds, Chita Rivera, and Bruce Vilanch to Channing’s devoted chorus of “Dolly Boy” dancers pops up to pay tribute to this amazing performer.
Dir: Eric Brach, 2011, France, USA, subtitled, 61 min.
This beautifully crafted and carefully observed film follows Chino, a deaf-mute leading a working class life with his mute wife and two young children in Havana while maintaining an open relationship with a financially supportive gay lover living abroad in Mexico. This tangled love triangle slowly unravels in surprising and sometimes bizarre ways revealing questionable motives and rich complexities that will confound you and move you profoundly.
HOLLYWOOD TO DOLLYWOOD
Dir: John Lavin, 2010, USA, 81 min.
Gay twins Gary and Larry have always loved Dolly Parton. They left their small town home ten years ago to make it in Hollywood and are finally ready to get their script to Dolly. In a RV named Jolene, the boys embark on the adventure of a lifetime. This road trip is also a journey of self-discovery and an attempt to resolve mommy issues that have divided them since childhood. Featuring 15 of Dolly’s classic songs and Chad Allen, Dustin Lance Black, Beth Grant, and Leslie Jordan.
Dir: Sonali Gulati, 2010, USA, India, 71 min.
In this first-person account, thirty-three year old filmmaker Sonali Gulati returns to her childhood home in India to resolve personal demons and explore broader issues facing the gay community in India, where homosexuality was still illegal when she started the film. Hoping to reconcile feelings of loss and regret, and find closure to unresolved feelings about her dead mother, Sonali's personal journey introduces her to many colorful characters (including openly gay prince and activist Manvendra Singh Gohil) facing unique issues in a country that finally overturned its ban on homosexuality in 2009.
NO LOOK PASS
Dir: Melissa Johnson, 2011, USA, 98 min.
Basketball player Emily Tay has always been an overachiever. From star point guard at the Marlborough School in Los Angeles to a successful college career at Harvard, the engaging Tay is now a professional basketball player in Germany and in a relationship with a U.S. servicewoman. In this insightful and poignant documentary, Tay, the first generation daughter of Burmese parents, finds herself facing one of the biggest challenges of her life - telling her traditional parents who she is really is.
ORCHIDS: MY INTERSEX ADVENTURE
Dir: Phoebe Hart, 2010, Australia, 60 min.
A closely guarded family secret has left filmmaker Phoebe Hart and her two sisters filled with shame and anger. When she breaks the silence about the hereditary intersex condition that runs in her family, she is confronted with fear and hostility from her mother, and rage from her younger sister. This unique family is transformed by Phoebe’s insistence that they accept each other (and themselves) unconditionally.
PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE
Dir: Jonathan Lee, 2011, USA, 89 min.
Lesser known today than his more celebrated counter culture contemporaries, Paul Goodman is mostly remembered for his book Growing Up Absurd (1960), which gave voice to a generation of young people and helped define a New Left. He was an openly bisexual philosopher, poet, essayist, and pacifist whose work was essential to the emerging gay movement of the early 1970s. Privately, he lived his life with equal devotion to a wife and family he cherished. Using a wealth of archival footage and interviews with family, friends, and scholars this film is a moving tribute to Goodman’s writings and legacy, and a thoughtful exam of his unapologetic lifestyle.
SHUT UP LITTLE MAN!AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE
Dir: Matthew Bate, 2011, Australia, 90 min.
In 1987, Eddie and Mitch, two young punks from the Midwest, moved into a terrible San Francisco apartment. Through paper-thin walls, they were introduced to their middle-aged alcoholic neighbors, Raymond, a raging homophobe, and Peter, a flamboyant gay man. Compelled by Ray’s and Peter’s barrage of vitriolic diatribes, Eddie and Mitch made audio recordings to document their neighbors’ bizarre relationship. SHUT UP LITTLE MAN tells their story as a darkly comedic exploration into the blurred boundaries among privacy, art and exploitation.
TALES OF THE WARIA
Dir: Kathy Huang, 2010, USA, subtitled, 57 min.
Halfway around the world in Makassar, Indonesia, a community of transwomen called the “Waria” - Wanita (Woman) + Pria (Man) - has long been an accepted part of the cultural fabric. However, because physical transition is frowned upon in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, they are forced to walk between worlds. In this inspiring documentary, we see how four of these women manage to do that with their heads held high.
WE WERE HERE
Dir: David Weissman & Bill Weber, 2010, USA, 90 min.
Director David Weissman (THE COCKETTES) returns to Outfest with this moving chronicle of the earliest years of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. The film breaks new ground by shedding light on the people behind the statistics, telling the moving, personal stories of five individuals who experienced the impact AIDS had on the city and witnessed the LGBT community coming together in response. Elegiac but inspirational, WE WERE HERE, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, bears witness to the experiences of those who died - and, equally importantly, those who lived.
WISH ME AWAY
Dir: Bobbie Birleffi & Beverly Kopf, 2010, USA, 120 min.
As a high-profile artist in one of the most visible and conservative industries, country music star Chely Wright risked her entire career by publicly revealing her homosexuality last summer. No one - not even Chely - knew if the fans that helped build her career would stick by her or turn against her. WISH ME AWAY is a candid, insightful, all-access look at how she came to this decision after decades of denial, and the at-times surprising and heartbreaking reactions she received. Her story of strength and determination will inspire and encourage anyone who has ever experienced fear and doubt in their quest to become their authentic self.
Dir: Scott Gracheff, 2011, USA, 90 min.
As the10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, Scott Gracheff’s documentary is a timely tribute to one of the gay heroes of that day - Mark Bingham. We know the story of Mark’s heroism on flight United 93, and we know about the international Bingham Cup rugby tournament that honors him, but this film introduces us to the man behind the legend. Featuring extensive interviews with Bingham's mother, friends, family and classmates, the film gives us a richer view of Bingham, from his teen metal-head period to his rambunctious college years through coming out and embracing the world with enthusiasm before his tragic demise.